Sam Thevanayagam, CEO
1. Located in the historic manufacturing city of brotherly love, DeVal Lifecycle Support, an original equipment manufacturer of ground and armament support equipment for the military, is truly an example of a phoenix rising from the ashes. From Rocky to the Eagles, Philadelphia is known as the city of underdogs, and after bouncing back from bankruptcy in 2017, DeVal embodies the spirit of coming back from behind to win it all.
Be it legacy companies or enterprises founded in recent years, it is almost impossible for them to recover after bankruptcy. According to the American Bankruptcy Association (ABI), only one out of ten companies bounce back after bankruptcy. There is a finite (albeit tiny number) of companies that have gone bankrupt only to return as a top contenders in the marketplace with respect to the products and services they provide. DeVal is an example of a company coming out on top. In just 4 short years, DeVal has become one of the Defense industry’s top aerospace manufacturers.
Sam Thevanayagam, Owner and CEO of Parts Life, Inc, LC Engineers, and DeVal Lifecycle Support, bet everything he had on the already bankrupt organization, believing in the potential of the people who worked there and the power of lifting them up. He fought tooth and nail in Federal Court to buy DeVal as opposed to another company that wished to dismantle it and move it to the midwest. Thevanayagam did so in the hopes of keeping jobs in Philadelphia and trusted that if given the right direction, DeVal’s staff would be able to turn things around. As a result, not only did the company come out of bankruptcy, but it grew jobs by 300 percent as compared to its previous capabilities. As Thevanayagam says, “Not only did we keep DeVal, but we were also able to thrive in it.”
DeVal’s mission is to support freedom by supporting the U.S. warfighter and taxpayer. Its primary area of expertise is in ground support and armament support equipment, where it manufactures equipment used to move and load missiles and bombs onto the aircraft. It also makes common ground support equipment that is used in depots where military helicopters and airplanes are worked on. Currently, the enterprise is working on platforms like the F-35, F/A-18, CH-53K, V-22, and B-52 aircraft.
DeVal’s specialty lies in its ability to be a complete product solution from start to finish as a build-to-print turnkey mechanical manufacturer with high precision machining capabilities.
We assure that our goods, services and programs are staying current and adaptive to make sure that we are serving our customers correctly
It is also strong in welding and tool fabrication and even has its own paint booth. The company also does its own non-destructive testing such as magnetic particle, eddy current and liquid penetration tests to ensure the highest product quality, and load testing.
The company’s philosophy lies in the emphasis of process quality over product quality, meaning that if the process is correct then the product will also be correct. DeVal believes that not depending on inspection to improve or create quality, rather it builds quality into its system and processes and leaves no room for improvement in the final product. They do this by following the four absolutes of quality:
1. Definition of Quality: Meeting Customer Requirements.
2. Standard of Quality: Zero Defects
3. Measurement of Quality: Price of Non-Conformance
4. System of Quality: Prevention rather than Inspection
When it comes to marketing their products, DeVal follows the 4 P’s of quality (Product, Price, Placement, Promotion) as well as two additional P’s: Preference and Proximity. The company firmly believes that staying close to the customer will enable it to serve them well. As Thevanayagam says, “By being close in proximity to our customers we are able to better serve them. That is why we opened an office in Oklahoma City near Tinker Air Force Base where we are working on manufacturing parts for the TF33 engine on the B-52”
DeVal makes sure that its clients like the people they work with, aka “preference”. The people work on building strategic relationships with its customers rather than keeping interactions transactional. To that end, its business development organization contains a strategic account management department to make sure it continually understands what its customers are looking for. As Sam states, “We assure that our goods, services and programs are staying current and adaptive to make sure that we are serving our customers correctly.”
In the past, DeVal not only provided manufacturing services but remanufacturing as well. That is why, moving ahead, the company is excited to get back to it’s roots with multiple remanufacturing projects for the US Navy. Currently, many military facilities perform in-house re-manufacturing, however as more complex platforms and aircraft systems, the Department of Defense is looking for strategic partners to help such as the OEMs. DeVal believes that the services it provides are more than capable of handling such platforms. Thus, DeVal Lifecycle Support continually looks for opportunities to display its full potential and present itself as a powerful partner to depots and other OEMs.